Understanding Facebook performance marketing with Facebook’s Attribution Tool

The Brief and Objective:

SHC Digital was tasked by home interiors retailer, Dunelm to set up Facebook’s new Attribution tool (Dunelm was selected by Facebook to be one of the first retailers to trial the new tool while it was still in BETA testing) and analyse the data to establish whether it could be a more proficient way of reporting Facebook performance-based marketing activity back to the business compared to the traditional Google Analytics method.

The Approach and Deliverables:

With over 41% of customers starting a purchase journey on one device and ending it on another, tracking and attributing which marketing channel a customer has come through can be a complete minefield.

Also with 45% of digital touchpoints missed by traditional measurement tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Manager, measuring performance-based marketing, specific paid social through an attribution model is key.

In late 2019, Facebook released its new Attribution tool, which aimed to bridge the gap between traditional measurement methods such as Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Manager, which can often see a discrepancy of around 60%.

We set about setting up the attribution tool using the Facebook pixel technology, which was already installed on the Dunelm.com website. We then built a robust campaign and ad set naming convention to allow us to track campaign and testing activity appropriately. We then embarked on a 30-day data analysis period, where we measured the key metrics (conversion, CPA and ROAS) from Google Analytics, Ads Manager and Attribution data.

The Outcome:

The results were staggering. First of all, we saw an 84% reduction in the number of conversions and 86% reduction in ROAS from Facebook Ads Manager compared to Attribution, which was to be expected as we always knew there was an element of overreporting in Facebook’s Ads Manager reporting interface. However, where we saw the biggest effect was the discrepancy in data from Google Analytics and Facebook Attribution. We knew that Google Analytics under-reported Facebook data but we never had the data to prove it - now we did. We saw a 386% increase in conversions and a 516% increase in ROAS!

Overall, the Facebook attribution data started to make more sense in terms of Facebook’s performance and role with a customers route to purchase and also aligned to the metrics and results seen in other performance-based channels such as PPC and affiliates.

The data from Facebook’s new attribution tool allowed Dunelm to report the performance of paid social activity more accurately to key stakeholders in weekly trading meetings and confidently compare the numbers to other performance channels with a decent CPA and robust ROAS, which subsequently would allow the team to pitch for a higher marketing budget for paid social within the FY 2020/2021 budget.